Time in a Bottle

No vessel has the potential to communicate so much about a specific time and place as a bottle of wine.  At Dovecote, our wine’s purpose is to capture and convey an authentic sense of its distinct location and seasonal story.

We craft wine as a way of celebrating our family’s collective experience by allowing our vineyard to slowly render every vintage’s unique monograph.  From the first buds of rebirth during misty spring mornings, to the slow and gentle ripening over balmy summer afternoons, to the anticipation of harvest during cool autumn nights, and finally the long exhale during winter’s rest.  We put our hearts into the land each year and are rewarded with nature’s most sincere time capsule.

We also believe there is uncommon beauty in Earth’s elusive tides and currents.  Our wines are all connected by their unwavering sense of place, yet each will always be true to its own first journey around the sun.

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Dovecote 2015 Estate Thompson Redtail


Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Treatise of the Vintage

Redtail’s purpose is to honor each vintage’s disposition with unaltered purity of fruit and a complex but balanced harmony of composition. It is a tribute in name to the lords of the sky at Dovecote, our numerous resident families of beautiful red-tailed hawks. As we farm, we carefully observe the palette of grapes grown on our vineyard. Every vintage is unique, and specific varietals shine brightly during different years. We then harvest and assemble a proprietary blend of the season’s most compelling red fruit, using vintage-unique ratios of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and/or Petite Sirah that are all grown on their own roots and fermented with vineyard-indigenous yeasts.  The resulting wine uniquely communicates the distinct character of each vintage.  Redtail is aged for 12-18 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels and bottle-rested for a minimum of a year before release.


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Dovecote Mantle Bottle


Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Greater Than Its Sum

When a bird of prey captures its quarry, it often spreads its wings and surrounds it in preparation for the two entities to become one. This beautiful act is known as “mantling”.

Dovecote’s Mantle is a co-fermentation of roughly 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. It originated from one of those chaotically serendipitous situations that can only arise during the fog of harvest. Somehow, we mysteriously brought in more Grenache and Syrah than expected. The decision was made to combine the fruit and ferment it together in one vessel (vs. blending it later after fermentation), to see what would happen. The results were incredible: The wine clearly became something far greater than the sum of its parts. It had acquired a distinctly seductive mouthfeel, a dark and sultry core, and an exotically perfumed bouquet of aromatics that were absolutely unique to the co-fermentation. Combining the same quantities of Grenache and Syrah post-fermentation yielded a very different wine. Something ineffable had transpired when two different varietals were allowed to fuse into one during the alchemical process of fermentation.

Mantle’s signature characteristic is its intoxicating and complex bouquet: muddled black cherries, wild fennel root, vanilla bean, and creamy sarsaparilla. It is a highly expressive medium-bodied wine that will pair well with a wide variety of fare from grilled fish and poultry, to wild game, lamb, pork, braised beef, mushrooms, or hearty vegetable stews.


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Dovecote 2015 Estate Thompson Syrah

Estate Syrah

Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Ancient Origins, Dauntless Roots

In the early 1970’s a brave California winemaker smuggled bootleg Syrah cuttings in from the legendary Chapoutier vineyard in Hermitage France, the birthplace of Syrah itself where it’s been cultivated for over 2500 years. Wine pioneer David Thompson heard about these special vines and believed they could produce complex, powerful, and long-lived wines in a cool site with terroir that closely matched their origin. David acquired cuttings in 1990 and the naked wood was bravely pushed directly into the sandy soil without protective rootstock, preserving an unfiltered expression of its unique DNA yet also exposing it to deadly pests and diseases.  Against all odds, these original own-rooted “Estrella River” vines survived, still yielding extremely limited quantities of densely concentrated fruit today. Dovecote Estate Syrah is crafted to exhibit the complex mosaic of dark, savory, and haunting qualities found only in cool-climate Syrah.  It is structured, voluptuous, and powerful while maintaining uncanny finesse.  This wine can take years in bottle to begin truly revealing itself, then aging and improving over multiple decades. Dovecote Syrah is aged for up to 36 months in French oak barrels (up to 25% new) and then bottle-rested for a minimum of another year before release.


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Dovecote Petite Sirah Bottle

Estate Petite Sirah

Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Dark Valkyrie

While it is always the darkest, inkiest, and densest wine we produce, Dovecote Estate Petite Sirah reflects its cool-climate terroir with a breathtakingly feminine grace and elegance in the glass, effortlessly balancing its inner power and intensity with an ethereal seductiveness. In the glass, aromatics of warm blackberry cobbler, lilacs, and violets give way to an opulent palate of smashed dark currants, roasted plum, and a touch of candied cinnamon.

Several decades ago an Italian-American and pioneering Central Coast farmer named Joe Carrari planted Petite Sirah in the Los Alamos Valley to use in his original field blends. His Petite Sirah responded extraordinarily to the cool-climate area, trading its typical warm-region jammy simplicity for a lush floral bouquet and bewitching complexity that was soon recognized by other local vintners. In 1990 cuttings were acquired from Joe to be planted as part of the Thompson Vineyard, pushed naked into the soil to grow on their own rootstock.

While the Los Alamos legend Mr. Carrari is no longer with us, we are honored to carry forward the legacy of his eponymous “Carrari Clone” Petite Sirah in both our vines and glasses.


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Dovecote Noumenon Wine Bottle


Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Apprehended by Thought

A noumenon is an object or event that exists independently of human sense and/or perception – the “thing-in-itself”.  It is not a result of observation, sense, or perception.

Dovecote’s flagship wine adheres to this philosophy of “that which is” and is only made from fruit that is able to become wine with no intervention:  100% native yeast from the vineyard, spontaneous fermentation, and a perfect balance of sugars and acids.  It is the purest expression of the land from which it comes.

Noumenon is a select blend of the most unique, expressive, and age-worthy Syrah barrels in our winery.  It is only released when a vintage yields fruit that produces a subset of outstanding barrels that justify this separately bottled wine.


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Dovecote 2017 Estate Grenache Blanc

Estate Grenache Blanc

Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Fruit on the Limb

In the mid-2000’s, master winemaker Craig Jaffurs convinced David Thompson to take a risk and graft over some of his old Cabernet Franc vines to a new varietal.  Less than 100 acres existed in California at the time, but France’s Rhone Valley had long produced distinctly elegant food-driven Grenache Blancs.  Craig was convinced the cool climate at Thompson Vineyard could produce a classic style with a perfect balance of minerality, acidity, and aromatics.  The gamble paid off — Thompson Vineyard’s Grenache Blanc turned out to be exquisite. At Dovecote we’ve graciously taken the baton to produce our own estate Grenache Blanc.  Never heavy-handed, sweet, or oaky, it is bright and elegant, and always a delicious complement on the table, in a picnic basket, or as a refreshing end to the day. Dovecote Grenache Blanc is fermented in stainless steel with no secondary fermentation. It is bottled fresh and ready to enjoy over the next 2-4 years.


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Dovecote Dovecote Estate Chardonnay Bottle

Estate Chardonnay

Thompson Vineyard, Alisos Canyon AVA

Chardonnay For The Rest of Us

Dovecote’s Estate Chardonnay was planted in 1990 on its own roots to the coveted Wente clone. Alisos Canyon’s cool ocean influence extends ripening and preserves acidity for a clean, crisp, expression of this full bodied varietal.

Our Chardonnay is light, bright, and elegant with zesty mouthwatering acidity — never oaky or buttery. The wine is made using 100% stainless steel with no oak and or malolactic fermentation.

This Chardonnay from our Estate Thompson Vineyard yields beautiful notes of lemon zest, asian pears, and fresh cut pineapple. It has a supple mouthfeel and can elevate a wide variety of cuisine. It is bottled fresh and ready to enjoy over the next 5-8 years.


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Dovecote Estate Viognier

Estate Viognier

Quail Valley Vineyard, Los Olivos District

A Tiny Vineyard With a Bold Voice

Dovecote Estate Viognier is produced from a single-acre vineyard planted on rocky alluvial soil in 1998 within a relatively cool area of the Los Olivos District AVA.  Today we lovingly hand-farm it without any machinery or power equipment. When we acquired the vineyard in 2014, it had been ignored for years by its prior owners who had lost interest in the finicky tedium of viticulture.  We believed in the potential of the site, which lies in a narrow valley that permits enough warmth to ripen the fruit slowly and retain acidity, while also limiting harsh sun exposure that can mute Viognier’s beautiful aromatics.  Over the next three years we worked to revive the spirit of our Quail Valley Vineyard, and in 2017 it rewarded us with our first vintage of perfect fruit. Our Estate Viognier is made in a fresh, acid-driven style inspired by the classic Northern Rhone whites.  It is sensually expressive and perfumed, yet gracefully sculpted by a skeleton of minerality and delicate floral aromatics.  On the table, it serves as a wonderful companion to rich flavors and spiced dishes.  Dovecote Viognier is fermented in stainless steel with no secondary fermentation.  It is bottled fresh and ready to enjoy over the next 5-7 years.


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